Why Hajj is Arafat?
The day of Arafat is the second day of Hajj.The Messenger of Allah (salla Allahu alayhi wa sallam) said: “ الحج عرفة “ or “Hajj is Arafah“.
The name Arafah عَرَفَة is mentioned in many ahadith such as hadith of the Messenger of Allah (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam): “ الحج عرفة “ or Hajj is Arafah (reported by Imam Ahmad and the four sunan). The name Arafat was mentioned in Surat al-Baqara 2:198
لَيْسَ عَلَيْكُمْ جُنَاحٌ أَنْ تَبْتَغُوا فَضْلًا مِنْ رَبِّكُمْ ۚ فَإِذَا أَفَضْتُمْ مِنْ عَرَفَاتٍ فَاذْكُرُوا اللَّهَ عِنْدَ الْمَشْعَرِ الْحَرَامِ ۖ وَاذْكُرُوهُ كَمَا هَدَاكُمْ وَإِنْ كُنْتُمْ مِنْ قَبْلِهِ لَمِنَ الضَّالِّينَ
“It is no crime in you if ye seek of the bounty of your Lord (during pilgrimage). Then when ye pour down from (Mount) Arafaat, celebrate the praises of Allah at the Sacred Monument, and celebrate His praises as He has directed you, even though, before this, ye went astray”
Why Second day of Hajj is called the day of Arafat?
There are different interpretations on why this day is called the Arafah or Arafaat.None of these opinions is authenticated by a solid textual evidence that can be traced to the Prophet (salla Allahu alayhi wa sallam). Nevertheless, the scholars of the past recorded them in their books as akhbar or stories of the past and therefore I quote few of these opinions here:(Quoted from Shaykh Yaser Birjas,lectures)
1. Arafah was the place were Adam and Eve met once again when they were sent down to reside on earth. They came down on two different spots but eventually were able to meet and recognize each other on this plain. Arafah here means “to get acquainted”, so based on this opinion Adam and Eve got acquainted to each other on that very same land we call today Arafah.
- When angel Jibreel came down to Prophet Ibrahim (alayhis salam), he taught him the rituals of Hajj and took him around the Holy Sites. For every ritual explained Jibreel would say to Ibrahim “A’raft?” or “Did you learn (this one)?” and Ibrahim would reply with “Araft” or “I did”. Thats why it was called Arafah i.e. he got to know or learn.
3)The word عَرْف or A’rf means fragrance, and because the plains of Arafah are sites on which Allah’s mercy (rahmah) and forgiveness descend, the people would describe the day, the place and its dwellers of being perfumed with this spiritual and mystical fragrance “Arafah”. Moreover because of the rahmah or mercy descending upon the gathering, the small mountain on the plain on which many hujjaj desire to stand was called the mountain of Rahmah “Mercy”.
Hajj Diary of a Pilgrim Day 3:Day of Arafat
On the second day of Hajj,the day of arafat,People march and head to Arafat.Arafat is not so far from mina,but the crowd and traffic jams make it seems a hundred miles.Many Haji’s are taken to arafat via Metro.The sound of Labbaik has filled the air of arafat.People have presented themselves from from far and wide and the chanting of labbaik symbolizes the purpose of this whole journey, that is to serve Allah and worship Him and Him alone.
“lab-bayka Allahuma lab-bayk, lab-bayka laa sharika laka lab-bayk, in-nal hamda wan-ni’mata laka wal Mulk, laa sharika lak”. “Here I am in Your service, O Allah, here I am. Here I am, You have no partner, here I am. Verily all praise and blessings are Yours, and all sovereignty, You have no partner.” [Muslim]
Does the crowd of Arafat reminds You of the Day of Resurrection ?
Allah has gathered the 2 million Haji’s who have come to seve him in the ground of Arafat.Doesn’t this vast crowd reminds us of the day of resurrection?
“Indeed in that (there) is a sure lesson for those who fear the torment of the Hereafter. That is a Day whereon mankind will be gathered together, and that is a Day when all (the dwellers of the heavens and the earth) will be present”[Hood 11:103]
“Say (O Muhammad): (Yes) verily, those of old, and those of later times.All will surely be gathered together for appointed Meeting of a known Day”[al-Waaqiyah 56:49-50]
“There is none in the heavens and the earth but comes unto the Most Gracious (Allaah) as a slave.Verily, He knows each one of them, and has counted them a full counting.And everyone of them will come to Him alone on the Day of Resurrection (without any helper, or protector or defender)”[Maryam 19:93-95]
“And (remember) the Day We shall cause the mountains to pass away (like clouds of dust), and you will see the earth as a levelled plain, and we shall gather them all together so as to leave not one of them behind”[al-Kahf 18:47]
The Messenger of Allah, upon his arrival to Arafah, used to camp outside the plains of Arafah ,prior to the time of Dhuhr .He camped in the location where the Masjid of Namira is now built, once called Wadi ‘Urana.Unlike the back part of the masjid today, the front part of the masjid is actually outside the boundaries of Arafah where the Messenger had delivered his khutbah or sermon.After the khutbah,, the Messenger (salla Allahu alayhi wa sallam) lead the hajj congregation in combined prayer between Dhuhr and Asr, then he moved inside the plains of Arafah until the end of the day.
In this day,the day of Arafat, When the time for prayer approaches, the khateeb or Imam who delivers the sermon stands to remind the congregation who gathered in Masjid Namira and the surrounding areas with what is known as the khutbah of Arafah. The adhan or call for the prayer is then announced, the Imam then leads the congrgation in Dhuhr and Asr prayer combined and shortened, each performed in units of two rak’ah with one adhan and two Iqamas.
After Asr time, the plains of Arafah transforms into a completely different sight. Hundreds of thousands of people begin to realise the imminence of the end of this blessed day and hence engage in a passionate and vigorous du’a and festivity of praise and supplication is seen.
People are seen standing & sitting everywhere, on the side of the road, on the mountain ofRahmah and on the top of their cars and buses raising their hands and voices with du’a.They shed tears and worries in the hope that they will be forgiven of all their sins.
There is no day better in the sight of Allah than the Day of Arafah. On this day Allah descends to the nearest heaven in a manner that suits His Majesty, and He is proud of His slaves on the earth and says to those in heaven, “Look at My servants. They have come from far and near, with hair disheveled and faces covered with dust, to seek My mercy, even though they have not seen My chastisement. Far more people are freed from the Hellfire on the Day of Arafah than on any other day.” (Abu Ya’la, Ibn Khzayma, al-Bazzar and Ibn Hibban)
Abu Ad-Darda reported that the Prophet (salla Allahu alayhi wa sallam) said, “On no other day does the Satan feel so belittled, humiliated, and angry as he does on the Day ofArafah.” The reason for this is the mercy of Allah that descends this day and the forgiveness that He grants to people for major sins, except the day of the battle of Badr, which witnessed a far greater mercy of Allah descending upon people, which caused great sadness to Satan.
Once the day comes to an end, and right at sunset the hujjaj start heading back towards Mina. On their way to Mina they stop for the night, the plains ofMuzdalifah.They prayMaghrib and Isha combined, where Maghrib is done in full three rak’ah and Isha is shortened into two.Pilgrims also collect pebbles for stoning the devil in jamarat.
It is the sunnah of the Prophet and therefore for the hujjaj to spend the entire night inMuzdalifah resting, and hence the best act of worship on Muzdalifah is to go to sleep. The hujjaj get some rest after a long day of worship and thereby also prepare for a longer day of various acts of worship, the day of Nahr “the day of Eid”.
Blessed are the soul present on Arafat,on this day.May Allah call each one of us to Hajj one day!Ameen.
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